How to Be a Great Podcast Guest

Podcasts are Thought Leadership Opportunities

In the United States, 44% of people have listened to a podcast at least once and 26% listen to podcasts monthly. Already in 2018, 6 million more listen to podcasts each week than they did in 2017. Source: Convinceandconvert.com

That means your thought leadership strategy needs to include guest appearances on podcasts.

As host of the Healthcare Lead Generation podcast, I have learned a few things about what makes for a good podcast guest. Unfortunately, as I learned from a colleague who also has his own podcast, not all guests understand the value being offered to them. Whether a paid sponsorship or free, the chance to appear on a podcast is valuable – and you need to be ready for it.

Here’s what you need to know.

15 Tips on How to Be a Great Podcast Guest

  1. Choose the right person to be interviewed.
  2. The default is usually the CEO but that is not always the best choice. Yes, you want someone knowledgeable about the topic but they also need to be approachable. For audio, that means good inflection, a pleasant voice and naturally conversational.

  3. Be on time.
    This is crazy obvious but I’ve heard hosts talk about what a big problem this can be, saying they’ve had guests call in 10 minutes late to a live radio show. Even for pre-recorded podcasts, though, this can mess up the host’s schedule and put you at risk of losing the slot.

  4. Make sure the host has your details right.
  5. Even the best-prepared host can make a mistake, so go over your bio and company information before you start recording. Make sure the host knows how to pronounce your name and your company name.

  6. Have a good connection.
  7. Most podcast interviews are done by phone or computer, so connectivity is a big deal. Make sure you are calling from a place with strong signal and no background noise. Remember, it doesn’t matter how helpful your information is if the sound quality is so awful everyone leaves.

  8. Don’t call in from a car.
  9. This is a corollary of #4. Not only will your signal vary if you are calling from a car but your attention will be divided. That’s bad enough for your interview but even worse for your driving. Pull over. Stop the car. Even if you stay seated in your parked car for the interview (not recommended), make sure you don’t get distracted and start commenting on pedestrians and drivers. That never makes for a good interview.

  10. Don’t bring unannounced guests to the interview.
  11. At least, not without first getting the okay from the host. The host will likely want to do some research so they know a bit about the additional guest. This way, they can make the interview more valuable to the listeners.

  12. Be prepared.
  13. Recorded interviews are never a good time to wing it. Ask the host for details on what will be discussed and do your homework. On my podcast, I always prepare my guests in advance. We go over what topics we’ll discuss and I help them plan what stories will best bring out their message. This is also a service I offer my clients, so they can make a strong impression as a thought leader.

    Contact me to learn more about my podcast and video coaching service.

    There is an art to this – you need to present what you want to say within the framework of what the audience is interested in.

  14. Rehearse.
  15. Take some time to review your topic and practice telling your stories. Time yourself so you get used to keeping within the time limits of the program.

  16. Don’t give short answers.
  17. Nothing ruins an audio interview like yes/no answers. Ideally, your host will know how to phrase questions to draw out the conversation but you should be on top of this, too. Good interviews are conversations, not interrogations. If the host feels like it’s pulling teeth just to get you to talk, the interview will be awful – and you will never be asked back.

  18. Stick to your message.
  19. Obviously, you don’t want to repeat the same sentence over and over, but you do want to stay on point. A personal anecdote can be fun but you don’t want to start rambling. Not only does that waste valuable time when you could be getting your message across, but it puts you at risk of saying something you’ll regret. For instance, one marketer I spoke with bemoaned how they lost a great thought leadership opportunity when their CEO went off rambling about pizza during an interview.

  20. Do not start venting about the competition.
  21. It can be very tempting during an interview to start talking about your competition – but it’s not recommended. The focus should be on your company. Plus, it almost always comes off sounding petty and immature. I’ve seen sales directors work for months to land a new health system client only to nearly lose it when the CEO showed up and started saying how much better they were compared to the competition. It left a bad taste in the prospect’s mouth and the sales director had to scramble to save the deal. Don’t fall into this trap – avoid talking about the competition.

  22. Keep an eye on the time.
  23. Your host will let you know how long the interview will last, so keep an eye on the clock. If you are giving a 30-minute podcast interview, don’t embark on a long story 28 minutes in.

  24. Listen for cues from your host.
  25. The host will give you subtle cues that they need to cut in. This could be so they can mention a sponsor, transition to a commercial or end the show. It could also mean you have gotten off-topic and they are trying to get things back on course. If they start sounding like they want to say something, let them. If you’re not sure, finish your thought and pause for a moment – that will give them a chance to jump in.

  26. Thank the host.
  27. Appearing on a podcast is a mutual favor and, as a guest, you are getting a really good deal. Free publicity, a chance to share your message – you have a lot to thank them for, so always remember to say so.

  28. Ask when the podcast will be published and share the link.
  29. You will want to share the link – whether to the episode, itself, or to a blog post of the interview – as widely as possible. So, find out when the episode goes live and be ready. Share the link by email with your database. Share it several times on social media. Post it on your website. Tell clients and hot leads about your interview.

Get help if you need it.

Podcast interviews are a vital part of your thought leadership strategy. If you aren’t confident of your abilities as a podcast guest, get some coaching before your interview. I offer podcast and video coaching to healthcare leaders who want to stand out in these opportunities. I can help you convey your message in a natural, non-salesy manner and show you ways to make your presentation more effective. Contact me to learn more.